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In the role as ACT Natural Resource Management and Landcare Facilitator, I thought it appropriate to give you a bit of an update every month or so. I will keep comments to a minimum and rely on readers contacting me if they wish to know more. In the interests of brevity contributions are not individually acknowledged here. Please notify me of anyone who may wish to be added to the distribution list. This newsletter will also appear on www.actlandcare.org
In this issue:
- NRM funding
- ACT NRM Plan Review Forum
- Observations from the International Landcare Conference in Melbourne
- Good luck Rebecca
- Australian Weeds Strategy endorsed
- Improving the NRM knowledge system for regions
- Exchange – national vegetation knowledge service
- Farm Day
- Community Water Grants Projects Round 2 announcements
- Bush capital gets tick of approval
- State of the Environment 2006
- Commonwealth releases report on urban water
- National Landcare Program Funding
- NRM Futures
- Websites of interest
- Indigenous Community Nursery Network Coordinator
- The Education for Sustainable Development Grants
- First National Workshop for natural resource management 2006
- Sony Giveaway – extended deadline
- Seasons greetings
The signing of the NAP Bilateral Agreement is progressing well. We expect it will be signed before Christmas. Arrangements will then be made to sign a Financial Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Territory. This document is being finalised at present. NAP funds are expected to flow to project proponents in February 2007.
Funding MOUs are currently being negotiated for projects where an ACT Government agency is the project proponent. Progress reports for projects to the end of December 2006 will also be sought after Christmas.
Contact John Feint 6207 5584
ACT NRM Plan Review Forum
The ACT NRM Council is reviewing the ACT NRM Plan. The Council convened a forum on 16-17 November 2006 to review progress to date in addressing the current targets in the Plan and to discuss the need for new or revised targets in each of the target areas: Biodiversity, Water, Land and Community. The Forum was well attended and provided some positive direction for the review. Working groups for the four target areas will meet again early in the New Year.
Observations from the International Landcare Conference in Melbourne
The 2006 International landcare conference Landscapes, lifestyles, livelihoods was held in Melbourne 8-11 October.
Hanna Jaireth from the Friends of Aranda Bushland attended the Conference through the NHT Project ‘Building Community Skills & Infrastructure to Address the ACT NRM Plan’. Thanks to the Ginninderra Catchment Group for their help in facilitating this effort to allow a community member to attend the conference. Hanna has provided the following observations from the conference:
Landcare conference upbeat despite drought
The 2006 International Landcare Conference in Melbourne was an upbeat gathering despite the devastating drought ravaging much of Australia. More than 1000 delegates from 20 countries attended the conference, including 120 international delegates. Water reform campaigner and National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow, was the most cheered speaker. She told delegates that the global water crisis under climate change would impact like a massive comet hitting our planet, that the privatisation of water utilities was an unmitigated disaster, and that desalination plants and bottled water contribute to the growing cartelisation of water supplies. She also pleaded that Australians accept that there are limits to growth and prefer sustainable development, and called for better recognition of the human right to water, and for a global Marshall Plan for water (and glasses and water jugs for delegates next time please, conference organisers, not Coca-Cola water).
Delegates heard again in other sessions of the risks of more bushfires and reduced river flows. The need for increased use of renewable energy, the provision of incentives for the development and use of new technologies, and a national emissions trading scheme was discussed.
Another strong conference message, delivered in part by Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, was that more international landcare networks are needed to promote sustainable development globally. Unacceptable hunger and poverty could be conquered through the capacity building and resource sharing that international landcare can deliver. Networks already exist in New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of South Africa, Uganda and the United States of America, but delegates were urged to share their experience with sister groups in other countries, to host visits and generally mentor others in need. Landcarers were encouraged to become volunteers overseas, to communicate better and more widely, to lobby for more Australian Government and corporate funding for international landcare, and to use landcare as a vehicle for promoting compliance with environmental treaty obligations. www.landcareinternational.net
Don Henry, Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, called for more incentives for a national biodiversity stewardship program. He said the Australian Government should leverage higher investments in accredited NRM activities from private sources for initiatives such as restoring rivers and promoting resilience.
David Crombie, the National Farmers Federation President, told delegates that more funding was needed for achieving integrated environmental outcomes. Land management agreements should provide for management payments to be made to private landowners if they achieve identified environmental outcomes and outputs.
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, the Australian Government Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, told delegates that Australian Government funding for natural resource management partnerships would continue after the current bilateral agreements expire in 2008, as had his Ministerial colleagues the previous week. The Landcare Program would continue to be funded. This commitment followed the development of the Australian Government’s response to the Keogh and Corish reports (2006) (see below).
Another uplifting conference message was that healthy environments sustained healthy communities, and that landcare does much to promote both. The benefits of active NRM groups include a sense of local pride and ownership, a sense of place; higher levels of trust and friendship; strong social networks, and open communications. Also less crime, unemployment, and mental illness.
Senator Abetz said that across Australia’s 56 NRM regions, about 4,000 landcare groups have a combined membership of 130,000 members, with another 100,000 taking part in landcare activities. Major achievements include improved irrigation across about 19,300 hectares of land; treatment for more than 400,000 hectares for salinity, erosion and acidity, and pest control across 16 million hectares, including rabbits, foxes and weeds. This message was reinforced in a workshop session ‘Feeling Blue? Touch Green’, which discussed a range of health benefits which were found in landcare participants. These included more positive attitudes towards life, increased satisfaction and sense of achievement, more confidence, better management of depression, and building of social capital.
There was some discussion of branding and terminology. ‘Caring for country’ was suggested as a better alternative term to both NRM and landcare. The need for better engagement with Indigenous communities caring for country was also discussed.
Conference tributes were bestowed on Australia’s mother of landcare, former Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner, who had delegates marvelling as she wittily recounted the conception of landcare and her role in its evolution.
By Hanna Jaireth, a gratefully-sponsored community delegate from Friends of Aranda Bushland Inc
Please find out more about the conference and its themes from the web.
For further reading see:
K. Keogh, D. Chant, B. Frazer (2006), Review of Arrangements for Regional Delivery of Natural Resource Management Programmes: Report prepared by the Ministerial Reference Group for Future NRM Programme Delivery, Commonwealth of Australia, accessible at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/regional-delivery-review/index.html
Agriculture and Food Policy Reference Group (Chair: P. Corish) (2006), Creating our future: agriculture and food policy for the next generation (the Corish Report), Report to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Commonwealth of Australia, accessible at http://www.agfoodgroup.gov.au/next_generation.html
Rob Youl, Sue Marriott and Theo Nabben (2006), Landcare in Australia Founded on Local Action, SILC and Rob Youl Consulting Pty Ltd
Good luck Rebecca
Rebecca Blundell, our very capable Community Programs Officer is on maternity leave for twelve months. Thank you Rebecca for your work with Park Care and Greening Australia. We all wish you well and look forward to news of the baby.
From Rebecca: I just wanted to say that it has been a pleasure working with you all this year, and although I know I wont be looking forward to returning to work in November next year - its makes it easier to know that I've got a great job to return to. They will be filling my position temporarily while I'm on leave - and hopefully the person will be able to slip into the position in the next few weeks. I'm sure my manager John Freeman will keep you informed.
Australian Weeds Strategy endorsed
The Australian Weeds Strategy, developed by the Australian Weeds Committee, was endorsed for release by the NRM Ministerial Council at the eleventh meeting, 24 November 2006, Christchurch New Zealand and the decision advised in the meeting communiqué at www.mincos.gov.au/media.htm. The Strategy is published on the web at www.weeds.org.au/aws.htm
Improving the NRM knowledge system for regions
Land & Water Australia's Knowledge for Regional NRM Program, funded through the Natural Heritage Trust, has been investigating ways to help Australia's 56 regional NRM bodies find, use and share information and knowledge. The document Improving the NRM knowledge system for regions outlines a range of options the program has canvassed and is now available from the Land & Water Australia website www.lwa.gov.au/regionalknowledge The Program will implement a selection of the solutions outlined in the document, including: Practical Knowledge Management Guidelines and training for regional NRM bodies; An NRM Toolbar, an internet tool to make finding and sharing digital resources easier; Knowledge Brokering services to assist regions find existing knowledge that addresses knowledge gaps.
Exchange – national vegetation knowledge service
Exchange is a service provided by Greening Australia to exchange knowledge between the people and organisations that manage Australia's native vegetation. Exchange links practical knowledge with research knowledge, and can provide you with the resources and contacts to help resolve your vegetation management challenges. Exchange is funded through the Natural Heritage Trust. www.greeningaustralia.org.au
Farm day is a venture in which a farm family hosts a city family for a day. It provides an opportunity for social interaction between the two demographics and a real hands-on experience leading to a greater understanding of the day-to-day life of the farming family. Farm Day will take place nationally on Saturday and Sunday 26 & 27 May 2007. Information will soon be available at www.farmday.com.au or contact Deb Bain at 03 5340 2215 or email@example.com
Community Water Grants Projects Round 2 announcements
‘On 27 November, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell and the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz, announced the Australian Government will provide $61.7 million under Round 2 of Community Water Grants (CWG) to 1,444 community groups across the country to implement practical on-the-ground projects.’
ACT community groups improved their success rate substantively in this round where 44% of applications will receive support. This amounted to 20 successful results out of 45 compared with 9 out of 49 in round 1.
ACT community groups, schools and aged care facilities, sporting and indigenous groups will benefit by $1,774,601 through the CWG. Water savings and efficiencies of some 80 megalitres utilise grey water, harvest rainwater, replace inefficient devices, or use alternative sources or techniques.
It is expected that nationally, Community Water Grants projects will save 9,518 mega litres of water per year, and that community groups will donate 560,000 volunteer hours to implement the projects.
Registration for Round 3 projects along with results from Round 2 at: www.communitywatergrants.gov.au Contact Michael Schultz NRM Facilitator 62723305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bush capital gets tick of approval
The World Wildlife Fund Australia report, Building Nature's Safety Net, has awarded the Australian Capital Territory a triple-A rating in recognition of its protection of biodiversity, the area covered by reserves and reserve management standards. The report ranked the ACT parks system top among the states and territories, and named the ACT's Gungahlin and Dunlop Grassland reserves among the ‘reserves of the decade’ which had made the greatest contribution to biodiversity protection in each jurisdiction.
State of the Environment 2006
The State of the Environment 2006 is the third independent national stock-take of the Australian environment. The 2006 edition covers 2001-2006 and reports on all aspects of the environment. The report and summary can be accessed at http://www.deh.gov.au/soe/2006/index.html
Commonwealth releases report on urban water
A comprehensive review of Australia's urban water situation, designed to stimulate debate and drive best practice water management, has been released. The report outlines the state of water supplies in our major cities. It shows how in the face of climate uncertainty, water conservation and restrictions are no longer enough to cope with changes in future water supply shortfalls. www.dpmc.gov.au/water_reform/index.cfm
National Landcare Program Funding
Applications are now open for funding of projects in 2007-08 under the
Australian Government's National Landcare Program. The NLP is keen to
encourage greater involvement in landcare by community and industry groups, a crucial step to improving natural resource management in Australia.
Current funding arrangements for the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage Trust cease on 30 June 2008. The Australian Government is considering the future of NRM arrangements based on a number of reviews and extensive consultations. www.nrm.gov.au/national/index.html#futures
The Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC), the peak government ministers forum for consultation and coordination of action by Australian/State/Territory and New Zealand governments on natural resource management (NRM) issues, has released a framework for the future development of NRM programs across Australia. The release of the framework follows Ministers’ Campbell and McGauran press statement on October 3, announcing that the Australian Government would continue its support to NRM programs beyond 2008.
Websites of interest
Plantation management & sustainability www.planningplantations.com.au
Recreational fishing Grants www.daffa.gov.au/fisheries/recreational
Suitability of water for stock use www.agric.nsw.gov.au/reader/916
Indigenous Community Nursery Network Coordinator
The Indigenous Community Nursery Network project, assisted by the Natural Heritage Trust and ACT Government and based in Canberra, is seeking an experienced project officer. The successful applicant will work in partnership with the Seeds for Survival project, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Billabong Aboriginal Corporation to coordinate the propagation, growth and distribution of local provenance plants in the Capital region Greening Australia Capital Region Ltd. has this position advertised at NRMjobs www.nrmjobs.com.au/
The Education for Sustainable Development Grants
The Education for Sustainable Development Grants Program aims to support sustainable development in Australia through improved approaches to education and learning for sustainability. 2006-07 round closes on Thursday 21 December 2006. www.deh.gov.au/education/programs/index.html
First National Workshop for natural resource management 2006
The first National NRM Workshop was held on the Gold Coast 21 to 23 November 2006 and was the first time that all 56 Regions came together to ‘Share Their Experiences’. Acclaimed a success, the attendees from across Australia enjoyed sharing positive actions from a variety of NRM regions. The mix of plenary and concurrent sessions included governance, industry partnerships, indigenous examples, and community building. ‘Communities of Interest’ were fostered in separate sessions and will be proactive in 2007; the theme areas being Coastal/Marine; Range Lands; Northern Australia; Large Populations; and Agricultural Lands. www.regionalgroupscollective.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?k_id=42
Sony Giveaway – extended deadline
Landcare Australia still has some Sony data projectors and digital cameras to give away to landcare networks and groups, valued at over $1,500, and $500 respectively. To win, all you need to do is register on the National Landcare Directory www.landcareonline.com/funding_opportunity_details.asp?fo_id=12
I take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers and staff involved in natural resource management in the ACT Region for their efforts over the last twelve months. I am constantly amazed at (and thankful for) the time and effort volunteered by a relatively small number of people committed to the environment. I wish you a very merry Christmas and success in your endeavours in the New Year.
ACT NRM/Landcare Regional Facilitator
Parks Conservation and Lands
Territory and Municipal Services
6207 7131, 0439 895 019
Regional facilitators are part of a national network funded through the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust to support community engagement in natural resource management.